Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mark Twain House

If you should ever find yourself in Hartford, Connecticut whether by design or by accident you ought to make a point of visiting Mark Twain House as I did today with my roomie. (

I must feign ignorance at this juncture. Until this weekend I had always associated Mark Twain as a creature of Hannibal, Missouri. But now A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court kind of makes sense.

So it was that Mark Twain made Hartford his home from 1874 to 1891. At the time, it was the wealthiest city in the United States and was the heart of this country's nascent publishing industry. During those years spent in Hartford, Twain wrote such books as The Prince & The Pauper, Tom Sawyer and, of course, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Twain and his family left Hartford after he was forced into bankruptcy. He had the misfortune of investing his fortune in a typesetter that did not work. Twain, who was born Samuel Clemens, eventually paid off his debts and returned to Connecticut late in his life and it is where he died in 1910.

Mark Twain House opened its door in 1974 on the 100th anniversary of his birth. Up until the 1960s, his house had been utilized as apartments. In recent years, Mark Twain House has struggled to stay afloat and has laid off most of its staff. However, it did recently receive a $500,000 grant from the Annenberg Foundation. (Yes, the same organization that gave Bill Ayers and company nearly $50 million to "reform" Chicago Public Schools. I think this investment was a bit better albeit far more modest.)

Under the circumstances, bad economic times or not, Mark Twain is an important figure in American history if not the most important in American literary history. As such his contributions ought to be preserved. Otherwise rumors concerning the death of Mark Twain House would not have been greatly exaggerated.

It is worth noting that tomorrow is the 173rd anniversary of Twain's birth.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Rabbi & Wife Among Dead in Mumbai Terrorist Attack

The last thirty hours or so have been very pleasant. My roommate invited me to his parents' home in West Hartford, Connecticut where we had an enjoyable Thanksgiving dinner. Today, my roomie drove me around Hartford and into Western Massachusetts where we visited Amherst and drove past South Hadley and Northampton.

As enjoyable as this respite has been I knew there was more fallout in Mumbai. While listening to news on NPR it came to my attention that the terrorists had targeted Jews. Today, I learned that they specifically targeted the Chabad-Lubavitch Center in Mumbai and Indian commandoes found six people dead inside including their directors Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his wife, Rivkah. Make no mistake. Jihad, wherever it might take place, is going to target Jews.

What happened in India seems so far away from New England. Yet it isn't. Two of the four hijacked planes on 9/11 took off from Logan International in Boston. I can only hope the incoming Obama Administration is wise not to take on a September 10th mentality to terrorism. Yet when the Obama Administration pins their hopes on allies to fight terror who are unwilling to bear arms to defend themselves it does not inspire confidence. The events of Mumbai are an indication that President Obama will be tested in his Presidency sooner rather than later.

If there is one silver lining in all of this it is that the Holtzberg's son, Moshe, was rescued yesterday by one of the center's employees. On the other hand, Moshe Holtzberg turns two tomorrow without a mother and a father.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Terrorist Attack in India

There has been a terrorist attack in Mumbai, India (formerly known as Bombay.) As of this writing, eighty people have been killed and 240 people have been injured.

Terrorist gunmen have carried out multiple attacks in luxury hotels, train stations and tourist attractions. Deccan Mujahideen, an Islamic terrorist group based in southern India reportedly with ties to al Qaeda and elements in Pakistan's intelligence services, has claimed responsibility for the attacks. It is believed that Deccan Mujahideen are targeting American and British tourists.

A spokeswoman for President-elect Obama said, "The United States must continue to strengthen our partnership with India and nations around the world to root out and destroy terrorist networks." Strengthen our partnership? I'm sure the terrorists are quivering in their boots.

Gates Remains as Secretary of Defense

It is now widely being reported that Barack Obama will keep Bob Gates as Secretary of Defense for at least the first year of his Administration.

I imagine Gates will oversee the drawing down of troops in Iraq and for lack of a better term a "surge" of troops in Afghanistan. In the short term it will be seen as a sign of reassurance towards those who to leave Iraq victorious while tending to unfinished business in Afghanistan. Of course, if the process goes to fast and someone like Sadr launches a rebellion that undercuts progress in Iraq thus allowing Iran the political space to effectively run the country then our efforts will have been all for naught.

Yes, the Left will not like this development. But I'm sure Obama is calculating this anger will be shortlived. Once Gates has outlived his usefulness then Obama will insert his "yes man" perhaps a Tony McPeak into that role and the Left will have been mollified.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Frontline Airs Hugo Chavez Documentary

In recent years, the PBS show Frontline has been preoccupied with the Bush Administration.

So I was surprised to see Frontline air a documentary air a documentary critical of Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez. ( Simply titled The Hugo Chavez Show, the documentary centers around his weekly show Allo Presidente. Airing each Sunday the show can go on for up to six hours. Chavez often berates his fellow Cabinet Ministers who he fires with the frequency of Donald Trump and even the occasional foreign journalist who asks him a simple question. Anything that goes wrong is everyone else's fault but his own.

While there are pro-Chavez voices heard it is clear even from other leftists interviewed that Venezuela is seen is no better now than it was when Chavez came to power a decade ago. This past weekend the opposition won five governorships and the mayoralty of Caracas despite Chavez's best efforts to prevent opposition candidates from running.

Does this sound like someone who is going to voluntarily leave office in 2013?

Frontline Airs Hugo Chavez Documentary

In recent years, the PBS show Frontline has been preoccupied with the Bush Administration.

So I was surprised to see Frontline air a documentary air a documentary critical of Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez. Simply titled The Hugo Chavez Show, the documentary centers around his weekly show Allo Presidente. Airing each Sunday the show can go on for up to six hours. Chavez often berates his fellow Cabinet Ministers who he fires with the frequency of Donald Trump and even the occasional foreign journalist who asks him a simple question. Anything that goes wrong is everyone else's fault but his own.

While there are pro-Chavez voices heard it is clear even from other leftists interviewed that Venezuela is seen is no better now than it was when Chavez came to power a decade ago. This past weekend the opposition won five governorships and the mayoralty of Caracas despite Chavez's best efforts to prevent opposition candidates from running.

Does this sound like someone who is going to voluntarily leave office in 2013?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Imagine if the Treasury Secretary Gave Out the Super Bowl Trophy

One more observation from last night's Grey Cup game. The Grey Cup was given to the Calgary Stampeders jointly by the CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon (which one would expect) and by Canada's Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty (which one would not expect). At least not in the United States. But in Canada you see in government in things that you would not imagine down here at least not until recently. Granted, the Grey Cup was donated by Earl Grey when he was Canada's Governor General nearly a century ago. Now I could understand the Governor General Michelle Jean handing out the Grey Cup. It would be a continuity of tradition and well within the function of the Governor General as it is largely a ceremonial position. But the Minister of Finance?

Put another way could you imagine if Hank Paulson were to hand out the Super Bowl trophy? Or for that matter his soon to be successor, Timothy Geithner?

Unless, of course, the Obama Administration decides to nationalize the NFL as well.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

County Attorney Thomas with fake Palin

Is it Palin, or is it me?

Calgary Stampeders Win Grey Cup

I just finished watching the 96th Grey Cup. The Calgary Stampeders defeated the Montreal Alouettes, 22-14 in front of 66,000 fans in Montreal's Olympic Stadium. It was weird to see Olympic Stadium full of people. In the dying days of the Montreal Expos there wouldn't be more than 6,000 fans at a game.

This was the Stampeders first Grey Cup win since 2001.

Most wouldn't know it but there's a big football tradition in Canada even if we play the game a little differently. Canadians play three downs, not four; the field is 110 yards and there's a three minute warning. Field goals are mostly kicked at angles. Other than that the game is fairly similar to the American game.

Most players in the CFL are American but each team must have an allotment of Canadian players. Indeed, the Grey Cup awards both an MVP award and a MVC award - Most Valuable Canadian. As if a Canadian player couldn't be the most valuable. Stampeders kicker Sandro DeAngelis was the MVC kicking five field goals. I think he should have been the MVP. Calgary QB Henry Burris was named Grey Cup MVP but did not have a touchdown. However, Burris did have 328 yards and rushed for 79 of them. He also guided the Stampeders to a comeback win. The Stamps were down 10-3 early in the game but a strong defense and couple of interceptions thrown by Alouettes QB Anthony Calvillo shifted the momentum to Calgary. This was Calvillo's sixth Grey Cup appearance but only has one championship to show for it.

I don't often get to see Canadian TV except for federal elections on C-SPAN, the occasional NHL game on Versus and the Grey Cup which was also covered on Versus this year. America is where I live but it is always nice to see a little bit of home.

With that I've now flipped it to the Colts-Chargers game.

Larry Summers Has Been Forgiven

President-elect Obama is set to introduce Larry Summers as his new Director of the National Economic Council.

I guess Obama's seal of approval means Larry Summers has been forgiven.

You will remember that early in 2005, Summers was at the eye of the storm as he was forced out as President of Harvard University. Summer suggested one of the reasons women weren't represented in tenured positions in science and engineering at top universities and research institutions because their might be innate differences between men and women. Never mind Summers stated he did not believe this argument but that it nonetheless merited discussion.

In February 2005, I penned an article, "Where Do Women Live in Greater Fear? At Harvard or In Iran?" ( I lambaste the National Organization of Women and its President Kim Gandy not only for pillorying Summers but for arguing that women in Iraq were better off under Saddam. I also took NOW to task for not speaking out on behalf of women in Iran who were being punished under Shari'a law for being the victims of rape.

Well, I looked at the NOW website today and I don't see any hue and cry over Obama's appointment of Summers. Obama hath forgiven. Summers has been welcomed back into the sisterhood. It is amazing how Colin Powell was decried by the Left over his presentation to the UN Security Council. But once he endorsed Obama it was, "Presentation to the UN? What presentation?" If Obama should keep Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense the same process will happen - Iraq War or no Iraq War.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thoughts on the JFK Assassination @ 45

It was 45 years ago today President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. Whatever the circumstances of his assassination America lost an extraordinary leader.

Naturally when someone with extraordinary charisma like Obama comes along (whatever the merits of his policies) people will liken him to JFK, FDR and Lincoln.

The assassination took place nearly nine years before I was born. However, my parents like millions of people the world over remember where they were when it happened. They were both students at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. My Dad was in a stats class when someone came into the room and blurted out that Kennedy had been shot. Most people, my father included, thought it was a sick joke. It, of course, turned out to be no joke.

That night my paternal grandmother lit a candle for Kennedy. This is a Jewish tradition to honor the dead. The fact that my grandmother lit the candle in honor of a Catholic was a testimony to his idealism and his personal impact on Americans from every social strata.

I began to be fascinated by Kennedy in 1983 as the 20th anniversary of the assassination approached and tried to read Profiles in Courage though an 11-year-old boy could only get so much out of it. What was more easily understood was a visit to the JFK Memorial Park in Israel in the summer of 1988. The JFK Memorial is shaped like a tree stump. The stump consists of 50 parts representing the 50 states. Our guide asked us the symbolism of the stump. After a momentary pause I said, "It means he was cut down in the prime of his life." Then others understood as well.

There are memorials honoring him the world over. When I lived at the International Students House in London in 1995 there was a bust of President Kennedy outside the building on Marylebone Road. I have lived in Boston since 2000 and have visited the JFK Presidential Library and Museum on several occasions. I have also visited the home where he was born on 85 Beals Street in Brookline.

It is tempting to wonder what would our country been like had he served his full term and been re-elected in 1964. Most people would like to think things would have been far better and perhaps they would have been. How would things have been different if at all? Would JFK had been consumed by Vietnam the way it consumed LBJ? Would students have turned against him? Would RFK have turned against him politically? Would Nixon have been elected in 1968 just the same? Needless to say that will never be known. Although it says a great deal that Americans still have great reverence for a man who served in our highest elected office for less than three years nearly half a century later.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Burmese Military Junta Sentences Comedian to 45 Years in Prison

Zarganar, Burma's most popular comedian and democracy activist, has been sentenced to 45 years in prison. (

I wish I were kidding.

Zarganar was arrested after he criticized the military junta's slow response to Cyclone Nargis this spring.

More charges are pending. The military junta is seeing to it that Zarganar spends the rest of his life in jail.

The only joke here is Burma's military rulers.

Obama Has School Named After Him on Long Island

The school board in Hempstead, New York on Long Island voted to rename Ludlum Elementary as Barack Obama Elementary. The change will take effect at a ceremony next month. (,0,1900634.story)

So I wonder if this means the children will be required to sing "The Star of Hope" after the Star Spangled Banner and the Pledge of Allegiance each morning? Afterwards, they can learn all about America's 57 states.

Press Goes For Palin's Jugular

You would think the euphoria of Obamamania would be sufficient.

But the Left needs it dose of Palin.

Today, after Palin pardoned a Thanksgiving turkey in Wasilla she conducted a press conference. In the background was a farmer beheading turkeys. According to the Huffington Post, "After the pardon Palin proceeded to do an interview with a local TV station while the turkeys were being SLAUGHTERED (caps theirs) in the background!!! Seemingly oblivious to the gruesomeness going over her shoulder, she carries on talking for over three minutes." (

Stop the presses!!! The turkeys we eat on Thanksgiving are killed.

I think Palin knew exactly what was going on in back of her. It's Alaska. Frontier country. If Palin has spent her life shooting moose why would the beheading of a couple of turkeys phase her? Of course, if you're from the Northeast, enjoy Tofurky from Whole Foods and see this you too might be out of your element.

So why not recover your composure and have yet another chance to call Palin "oblivious"?

Of course, if Palin didn't get under their skin why would they have a bone to pick with her?

Geithner, Richardson Reportedly Offered Treasury & Commerce

Lost in the shadow of Hillary reportedly accepting the Secretary of State position are the possible of appointments of Federal Reserve Bank of New York President Timothy Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson as Secretary of Commerce.

The NYSE rallied nearly 500 points when it was learned Geithner would be Obama's pick. Although I wouldn't read too much into that as it will probably tumble 500 points by the time we get to Thanksgiving.

Somehow I think Richardson is wishing he could stay in Santa Fe. After all, he was a former Secretary of Energy and an Ambassador to the UN. Richardson wanted to be Secretary of State but once Hillary was in the running all bets were off. I'm not saying the Commerce portfolio is penny ante. But this is being offered to Richardson as a consolation prize only because the person Obama wanted for the position turned him down. Yesterday, it had been speculated Pritzker would be Obama's pick for Commerce but publicly declined interest in the cabinet post.
I'm sure Richardson is muttering to himself, "Gee thanks a lot."

Hillary To Accept Secretary of State App't

Fox News is reporting that Hillary Clinton will accept Barack Obama's offer to become Secretary of State and that a formal announcement would be made after Thanksgiving.

Considering that Obama argued his childhood experiences in Indonesia outweighed Senator Clinton's foreign policy experience this appointment takes a certain amount of chutzpah. Or dare I say audacity.

One could argue, as I have, that this is a "keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer" appointment. Can Obama and Hillary work together? Can Hillary play second fiddle to Obama? I am sure Obama appointed her to neutralize the possibility of her challenging him in 2012. But these are two massive egos we are talking about. Three when you add in Bill.

I predict there will be a rift between Obama and Hillary and that a) Obama will ask for her resignation or b) Hillary will leave on her own. What the rift will be about is immaterial. It probably wouldn't be one significant issue but rather a series of differences on a multitude of issues. Throw in a clash of personalities and you've all the ingredients for a political uprising. If she leaves then others will follow. It would inevitably mean a challenge to Obama for the Party nomination in 2012. Which means if this would come to pass it would happen sometime in 2011. Even if Hillary isn't successful in challenging him it would do enough damage to him to lose the next Presidential election.

Of course, assuming neither Obama or Hillary change their mind between now and the beginning of December.

Mukasey Released From Hospital

Attorney General Michael Mukasey was released from hospital less than 24 hours after collapsing during a speech before the Federalist Society in Washington.

It hasn't been said what precisely happened to him but thank goodness it wasn't a stroke or a heart attack.

Putin To Be President Again?

The lower house of Russia's parliament passed a constitutional amendment expanding a presidential term from four to six years. However, this will not apply to President Medvedev but his successor...who else but Vladimir Putin?

Not that it makes much of a difference. If Putin wanted to be President tomorrow he could. He could be President and Prime Minister at the same time if he wanted. If Putin wanted to be President, Prime Minister and Grand Poobah simultaneously he could. The Duma is nothing more than the House of Putin.

I admire President Bush for many things but he missed the boat where it concerned Putin's soul. Of course, Obama didn't exactly inspire confidence when Russia rolled its tanks into Georgia. What if Russia decides to make an excursion into Ukraine? What will Obama do over ballistic missile defense? We could have another missile crisis. Only this one would be in Eastern Europe near the Polish-Czech Republic border off the Baltic Sea. Perhaps this is the test to which Joe Biden was referring.

Boston City Councillor Turner Arrested for Accepting Bribes

Longtime Boston City Councillor Chuck Turner was arrested this morning by the FBI for accepting bribes from undercover agents in a sting operation similar to what brought down former Massachusetts State Senator Dianne Wilkerson.

Even though America has elected an African-American President, Turner points the finger at the man calling the FBI "an organization that seems to focus on trying to take black politicians down." Yes, that's right Chuck. That's why the FBI is in business. To take down black politicians.

Of course, Turner is the fellow who in May 2004 held a press conference showing sexually explicit photos of American soldiers raping Iraqi women. These photos were published by The Boston Globe. The only problem was that the photos were taken from a European porno website. The Globe came off far worse than Turner over that one. Yet as with Wilkerson, the people keep electing Turner.

As always, Turner is innocent until proven guilty but given his embarrassing behavior and now possibly illegal conduct Boston would be better off if he were no longer a member of our City Council.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mukasey Collapses During Speech to Federalist Society

I just saw the video of Attorney General Mike Mukasey collapsing during a speech this evening to the Federalist Society in Washington.

He appeared to be slurring his words right before he collapsed. I hope he didn't have a stroke as slurring is one of the telltale signs of a stroke. So far he is reported to be conscious and alert. Perhaps he just had a sudden drop in blood pressure and just fainted. That just happened to my roomie a couple of weeks ago while he was in church. Although one wonders if he will be able to carry out his duties in the final 60 days of the Bush Administration. Could Deputy Attorney General Mark Filip be asked to serve out the final two months? Hopefully, it doesn't come to that but it might.

Mukasey, a former Chief Justice of the U.S. District Court in Southern New York, replaced Alberto Gonzales as AG just over a year ago.

Wilkerson Resigns from Massachusetts Senate

Dianne Wilkerson, the longtime State Senator from my electoral district in Massachusetts, yesterday resigned after 15 years of holding that office. Had she not resigned there would have been a vote to expel her from the Senate. The day before Wilkerson had been indicted on eight counts of bribery after being arrested late last month accepting bribes from undercover FBI agents. These videos were shown on local TV newscasts here in Boston with the embarrassing spectacle of Wilkerson stuffing cash into her bra. Ted Stevens has nothing on this woman.

Granted she is innocent until proven guilty. However, Wilkerson, the first African-American woman to be elected to the Massachusetts State Senate, has a long history of impropriety. She was placed under house arrest in the late 1990s for failing to pay federal income tax; ran afoul of the State Ethics Commission when she failed to disclose a bank she was lobbying for retained her as a consultant for $20,000; was investigated by the State Attorney General for failing to report campaign donations or explain $18,000 worth of personal reimbursements and committed perjury in a criminal trial involving her nephew.

Yet the people of the Second Suffolk District kept re-electing her. In 2006, however, she was challenged for the Democratic nomination by Sonia Chang-Diaz but Wilkerson turned back her challenge. However, Chang-Diaz would not be deterred and challenged Wilkerson again. This time Chang-Diaz won the Democratic primary. Wilkerson did try to launch a write-in campaign but her arrest a week before the election torpedoed her chances.

Yes, Chang-Diaz is a liberal Democrat which is about all you'll get here. She is also the first Hispanic woman to hold a seat in the State Senate. One can only hope she will avoid the potholes her predecessor was so eager to put her foot.

Pritzker Won't Accept Nomination for Commerce

Hyatt hotel heiress and longtime Obama confidant Penny Pritzker declined his offer to be nominated as Secretary of Commerce.

She publicly stated that she feared her business dealings might compromise her nomination. But I wonder if it has to do with her involvement with the Chicago Public Education Fund which was a successor to the Bill Ayers inspired Chicago Annenberg Challenge. I wonder if there was a connection to Ayers there and if Pritzker wasn't prepared to answer questions about it. From what little I know about her she is someone who prefers to work behind the scenes. She might not become a member of Obama's cabinet but given her wealth and ability to fundraise she will still be an important player in the Obama Administration.

Napolitano as Homeland Security Chief?

Given that Intellectual Conservative has it roots in Arizona I am naturally curious about the statewide reaction about the possibility that Governor Napolitano might accept the Homeland Security cabinet post from Obama. I am also curious about who Napolitano's successor as Governor might be.

Rachel, you are omniscient about all things Arizona. I am sure you have thoughts on the prospect of Napolitano heading for D.C.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Iran Cracking Down on Web Sites & Bloggers

The Islamic Republic of Iran is in the midst of cracking down on Western websites and has also evidently arrested its top blogger.

Iran is now restricting access to websites it deems "unIslamic" such as Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo, Google and, well, for that matter Intellectual Conservative.

Iran's top blogger, Hossein Derakshan, has reportedly been arrested for spying for Israel. In 2007, Derakshan called for the impeachment of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. However, Derakshan has softened his criticism of Ahmadinejad in recent months. A lot of good it's done him.

I still remember when Obama said we needed to talk to Iran in the same way that Reagan talked to the Soviet Union. Reagan talked to Gorbachev because he was a reformer. Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs are no reformers. Obama didn't get it then and I doubt he gets it now.

Wakamatsu Named Mariners Manager

The Seattle Mariners have named Don Wakamatsu as their manager for the 2009 season. Wakamatsu becomes the first Asian-American to become a major league manager. In 2008, Wakamatsu was the bench coach for the Oakland Athletics. He was also a member of the Texas Rangers coaching staff from 2003 to 2006. Wakamatsu was a career minor leaguer who played a handful of games with the Chicago White Sox in 1991 trying to catch Charlie Hough's knuckleball. After his playing career ended Wakamatsu managed in the minor leagues.

The Mariners lost 101 games in 2008. It was their worst showing since 1983. The Mariners fired manager John McLaren in the mid-June and was replaced by Jim Riggleman who fared no better. Wakamatsu is an unknown quantity. But that might not be a bad thing since there is little expected of the Mariners in 2009 as they will stick with largely younger players save Ichiro Suzuki. However, some Mariners fans wanted Chicago White Sox third base coach Joey Cora to get the job. Cora played with the Mariners from 1995 through 1998. He was part of Mariner teams that went to the post-season in 1995 and 1997 and he was a huge fan favorite in Seattle. Cora's younger brother, Alex, plays for the Red Sox. It will be interesting to see how Wakamatsu handles Ichiro who has often butted heads with previous managers and was believed to be the driving force behind Mike Hargrove's sudden resignation in the middle of the 2007 season.

Daschle Tapped as Secretary of H&HS

It appears that President-elect Obama has tapped former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle to be Secretary of Health and Human Services. Daschle will also be the White House's point person on all health care policy. He will be to Obama what Hillary was to Bill in the first Clinton term.

After losing his Senate seat in 2004, Daschle remained in Washington and became an early supporter of Obama's White House bid when he decided not to launch his own. So it is hardly a surprise that Daschle would enjoy a major role in the Obama Administration.

I am not sure how Obama and Daschle can possibly implement any kind of universal health care much less any kind of meaningful health care reform with the economy in its current state. There is no doubt there are tremendous short comings with our health care system not the least of which is not only the lack of access to health care insurance but inadequate health care insurance. One should not be put into a position to file for bankruptcy because of illness and injury to oneself or a family member.

As someone born and raised in Canada and has lived down here for nearly a decade I've experienced both health care systems. They both have their virtues and they both have their faults. My biggest single concern about implementing a universal health care system in the United States is that health care services will be rationed. Canada's health care system has been plagued by waiting lists for surgery and MRIs. There are actually more MRIs here in Boston than there are in all of Canada. That's not good. Some people die while waiting for health care. That is not good either.

What could happen would be what was done here in Massachusetts. When Romney was in office he took measures to bring about mandatory health care insurance. This has been extended and expanded under Governor Patrick. Health insurance companies have geared their policies to individual holders and have lowered their premiums making it more affordable for more people. Of course, there are conservatives who will argue that we shouldn't mandate that people have health care insurance and that such edicts are intrusive.

Health care reform is not a cut and dry matter and will be an immensely complicated undertaking regardless of the approach. But with government run health care comes waiting lists and I fear that if Obama and Daschle take this approach they will end up reducing access to health care. That, of course, assumes they are in a position to do anything at all.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Holder to be Named AG

President-elect Barack Obama has appointed Eric Holder to be the new Attorney General. Holder served as Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton Administration. He was also part of Obama's search committee for his V-P selection.

If approved by the Senate, Holder would become the first African-American to serve as AG. Holder did make the recommendation that Marc Rich be pardoned in the dying days of the Clinton Administration. That will raise some questions in the Senate Judiciary Committee but it won't be enough to block his nomination.

The Holder appointment is disappointing in one other respect. It means Deval Patrick stays in the Governor's Office here in Massachusetts.

Stevens Loses Senate Seat

Ted Stevens has lost the Senate seat that he held since 1968. Mark Begich, the mayor of Anchorage, has won the seat and will now become the junior Senator from Alaska. Last month, Stevens was convicted on seven counts of providing false testimony. His loss spares the Republicans the embarrassment of expelling him or asking him to resign. It also quashes any talk of Sarah Palin leaving the Governor's office to run for the Senate. The GOP cannot rebuild if it has convicted felon amongst its ranks. This defeat was for the best.

Senate Democrats Let Lieberman Keep Chairmanship

By a margin of 42 to 13, Senate Democrats have overwhelmingly voted to let Joe Lieberman keep his Chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee despite his support for John McCain and his prominent role at the Republican National Convention in September.

They did so because they need Lieberman on their side not out of the kindness of their bleeding hearts. While things look good for Democrats in Alaska and Minnesota it would be a monumental upset if Saxby Chambliss lost Georgia. The Democrats need 60 seats in order to prevent fillibusters and invoke cloture. If they lose any of those three races they need Lieberman's vote. It is worth remembering that although Lieberman was re-elected in 2006 as an Independent he still caucuses with the Democrats and votes with him most of the time.

However, if the Democrats should prevail in those other three states one wonders if Lieberman will then be deemed expendable and his chairmanship will be revisited by his Democratic Senate colleagues. President-elect Obama has let it be known that he doesn't want Lieberman removed and this also undoubtedly helped him. He also doesn't want Lieberman to become a martyr for the GOP. It will be interesting to see what direction Obama goes if Senate Democrats want to revisit this in the new year.

Pedroia Wins AL MVP

It doesn't make up for losing the ALCS but it comes close.

Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia won the 2008 AL MVP in only his second full season in the majors. In 2007, Pedroia won AL Rookie of the Year honors. This season Pedroia finished first in the AL in hits, runs scored and doubles. He also finished second in the AL batting race with a .326 average. Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer hit .328. Pedroia also stole 20 bases and won his first Gold Glove for his defensive work at second base.

Although Red Sox fans have been chanting "MVP" when Pedroia came up in the second half they were also doing it for Kevin Youkilis and I thought they would cancel each other out in the balloting. There was no obvious MVP candidate in '08 unlike last season when Alex Rodriguez won it hands down. While players and coaches were impressed by Pedroia's play it wasn't clear whether he had won over the baseball writers. They could have gone with Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim closer Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez who saved a MLB record 62 games (and was my personal pick). They could have also gone with Twins slugger Justin Morneau who won the AL MVP in 2006. Morneau finished as the runner up. He probably would have got more votes had the Twins reached the postseason. Or they could have gone with Texas Rangers hitting sensation Josh Hamilton. However, the Rangers had a sub .500 record and Hamilton faded in the second half. Carlos Quention, who was a find for the White Sox, would have got more votes had he not been injured in September.

Make no mistake. Pedroia earned this award. He stands 5,9 and weighs 180 pounds. That might be generous. In any case, Pedroia is essentially my size. The fact that he can compete with and outshine men over six feet tall and weighing well over 200 pounds is a testament to his hard work and desire.

I first saw Pedroia play in Pawtucket in 2005. He was one of the Red Sox top prospects having been picked by them in the 2nd round of the 2004 MLB Draft. I have to admit that I didn't see anything special. He debuted with the Sox late in the 2006 season and I didn't see it as he hit only .191 in 31 games. I also didn't see it in the first month of the 2007 season. At one point, Pedroia was hitting .172 and there was pressure to send Pedroia back to Pawtucket. But Sox manager Terry Francona stuck with him and his patience paid off. Pedroia simply needed time to adapt to his new surroundings. Pedroia finished 2007 with a .317 average which was good enough to finish in the Top 10 in the AL batting race and would be a major contributor to the Sox second World Series title in four years.

Aside from getting that World Series ring what personifies Pedroia in the minds of many was his diving play to preserve Clay Buchholz's no-hitter on September 1, 2007. Pedroia dove after the ball as if the field would explode if he didn't. Yet he'll do the same thing in an 8-0 game as I personally witnessed when they played the White Sox last August. Dustin Pedroia's on the field hustle has been compared to that of Pete Rose; a guy not blessed with size and power but used his smarts and dedication to become baseball's all-time hits leader. If in a decade from now we can still compare Pedroia to Rose on the field and not off the field then Pedroia might very well be one of the all-time greats MLB has ever produced.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Could Obama Offer McCain a Cabinet Post?

With President-elect Obama meeting today with John McCain I cannot help but think of Obama confirming to Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes that he will name a Republican to his Cabinet.

Could John McCain be that Republican?

With Obama possibly appointing Hillary as Secretary of State is it a huge stretch of the imagination that Obama could appoint McCain as his Secretary of Defense?

Of course, Obama is already being compared to Lincoln. Not in terms of his achievements but that much of Lincoln's cabinet comprised of his political rivals.

Although I wonder what the Left would think of Obama appointing McCain. How would they react? Many conservatives have a low opinion of McCain in the first place so I don't think there would be a great deal of reaction. But the Left just got through demonizing McCain. Will they feel betrayed if Obama appoints him? Or would Obama appointing McCain be construed as an act of forgiveness and be looked at in the same way as Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama.

However, it is probably more a courtesy call than anything else. If Obama does name a Republican to his Cabinet as Secretary of Defense (and I think there is every reason he will) it would most likely be the just retired Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel who has long opposed the War in Iraq.

Pujols Wins 2nd NL MVP

St. Louis Cardinals superstar Albert Pujols has won his second NL MVP easily beating out Philadelphia Phillies slugger Ryan Howard.

In 2008, Pujols hit .357 with 37 home runs and 116 runs batted in. Pujols finished second in the NL batting race behind Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves. His HR and RBI totals were 4th in the NL.

While Howard had better production than Pujols he only hit .251. No National Leaguer has won an MVP with a batting average lower than .267. Marty Marion, another Cardinals legend, pulled off that feat when he won the NL MVP for the 1944 Cardinals who went on to win the World Series against their crosstown rivals the St. Louis Browns. Marion won his MVP because of his defensive prowess at shortstop not because of his offense as many of his teammates put up better offensive numbers.

Pujols won his previous NL MVP in 2005. Since bursting onto the MLB scene in 2001, Pujols has collected more than 1500 hits, slugged more than 300 homeruns and has never failed to drive in 100 runs in a season. Pujols doesn't strike out very often whiffing only 54 times in 665 plate appearances this year. When Pujols won NL Rookie of the Year in 2001 he struck out 93 times. He has never reached 70 strikeouts in any season since.

While many argue that New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is the best overall player in MLB there is a case to be made for Pujols. In addition to his 2 NL MVPs, Pujols was runner up in the MVP balloting on three occasions. He finished behind Barry Bonds in 2002 and 2003 and Ryan Howard in 2006. Pujols has been in the top 5 in MVP balloting every year of his career except last season when he finished ninth.

Pujols has also played in two World Series with the Cardinals in 2004 and 2006. Pujols won the NLCS MVP in 2004 although his Cardinals would be swept by the Boston Red Sox in a historical World Series. Pujols earned a World Series ring in 2006 with the Cardinals when they beat the Detroit Tigers in five games.

What is even more remarkable about his season is that he spent time on the DL with an injured left calf. Pujols has also had right elbow trouble since 2003 and had surgery on the elbow last month. He is expected to be ready for spring training in 2009. Pujols turns 29 in January. His elbow is the only thing that might keep him from winning more MVPs, hitting more homeruns than Bonds and possibly A-Rod and perhaps even driving in more runs than Hank Aaron.

Off the field, Pujols is known for his philanthropy. The Pujols Family Foundation assists families of children with Down syndrome. Pujols adopted daughter, Isabella, was born with this condition. Pujols received the 2008 Roberto Clemente Award for his work in this area.
Perhaps the Pujols and the Palins will one day join forces.

Cuban Charged With Insider Trading

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban with insider trading. The SEC alleges that Cuban benefitted from information not available to the public and sold his shares of an internet start up called and avoided an estimated loss of more than $750,000.

Of course, Cuban is innocent until proven guilty. Nonetheless, this should give MLB pause as it is currently considering a bid by an investor group led by Cuban to purchase the Chicago Cubs.

I am not a Mark Cuban fan. His verbal abuse of NBA referees is an embarassment to the sport. His trade of Steve Nash to the Phoenix Suns was one of the most foolish in NBA history. I also don't particularly care for his trashing of American soldiers in the movie Redacted which was distributed by his film company Magnolia Pictures. That same company was also entertaining distributing the 9/11 conspiracy film Loose Change.

Mark Cuban is a successful entrepreneur. But I don't believe he is a force for good in America. I certainly don't think he would be good for the Chicago Cubs.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

60 Minutes Interview of the Obamas

I just finished watching the Obamas being interviewed on 60 Minutes by Steve Kroft.

Boy, did Kroft ever grill Obama over such burning issues as household chores, what dog they will get for their children, his mother-in-law and a playoff system for college football.

Well, now I can go to bed with the knowledge Obama has a better relationship with his mother-in-law than Harry Truman did.

If this is the sort of scrutiny we can expect from the media concerning our 44th President then heaven help us.

About That Rudy For Senate Idea

A couple of days ago, I mused about the possibility of Rudy Giuliani running for the Senate if Obama names Hillary as his Secretary of State thus creating a vacancy. If the Democrats get to 60 seats, a Hillary vacancy and a Rudy win would put them back at 59.

There's one problem with this scenario.

If Hillary accepts Obama's offer and vacates her seat then New York Governor Paterson will appoint someone to finish Hillary's term which expires in 2012.

There's no way in hell Governor Paterson appoints a Republican to fill this vacancy.

Governor Paterson might be blind but he's not stupid.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Obama Wants Israel to Recede to 1967 Borders

I just saw an article in The Times. It looks like Obama has it in for Israel. (

It appears that President-elect Obama backs the so-called Saudi Peace Initiative that was first proposed in 2002. Israel would have to recede to its 1967 borders in exchange for recognition in the Arab world. The Arabs would also drop any refugee claims. Israel would have to return the Golan Heights to Syria, a Palestinian state would be established with East Jerusalem as its capital. No wonder Obama withdrew his "undivided Jerusalem" remark.

When Obama met with Mahmoud Abbas last July he told the Palestinian Authority President, "The Israelis would be crazy not to accept this initiative. It would give them peace with the Muslim world from Indonesia to Morrocco."

Did Israel get peace when it unilaterally withdrew from Lebanon in 2000? Did Israel get peace when it unilaterally withdrew from Gaza?

What makes Obama think Israel will have peace if it accepts the so-called Saudi peace plan?

Of course, Kadima leader Tzipi Livni supports the Saudi peace plan as does Israeli President Shimon Peres. If the Israelis elect Livni in February there's not much I can say. I don't like it but they live there and I don't. If Israelis want the Saudi peace plan then that's their choice.

But what if Israelis see the so called Saudi Peace Initiative as a bill of goods and elect Bibi Netanyahu? That would throw a monkey wrench into the mix. No doubt Obama would then try to blame all ills in the Middle East on Netanyahu as would his sychophants in the liberal media.

From where I sit this so called Saudi Peace Initiative is a suicide note for Israel. Obama's endorsement of this plan means he wants Israel to drink the hemlock.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Remember When Obama Said This To Hillary?

Do you remember when Obama and Hillary faced off in one of the Democratic debates in Iowa?

Do you remember when the moderator asked Obama why he was surrounded by Clinton advisers vis a vis foreign policy and how this represented change.

HILLARY: I want to hear that.

OBAMA: Hillary, I am looking forward to you advising me as well.

You can view it at|-scc5I.

Obama's words may prove to be prophetic.

Hillary as Secretary of State? Rudy as Senator from NY?

It could just be a trial balloon on a Friday morning.

But if this is for real then talk about keeping your enemies closer.

If Hillary does become a part of Obama's cabinet would Rudy be drafted to run for her vacant Senate seat?

Giuliani might be the only thing standing in the way of a Democratic supermajority if Republicans lose Senate seats in Alaska, Minnesota and Georgia.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lee Wins AL Cy Young

Cleveland Indians pitcher Cliff Lee won the 2008 AL Cy Young Award. Lee, 30, was one the few bright spots for the Tribe in 2008. After coming within a heartbeat of the World Series, the Indians struggled most of 2008 although they played well enough in September to finish with a .500 record.

Although 2007 was full of triumph for the Indians, Lee struggled with a 5-8 record and a 6.29 ERA. Lee found himself demoted to Triple-A Buffalo in late July.

In 2008, Lee had a remarkable transformation going 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA with 170 strikeouts. Lee started April 5-0 and never looked back. This is the second year in a row an Indians pitcher has won the AL Cy Young. C.C. Sabathia was the AL Cy Young winner in 2007. Sabathia was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in the middle of the 2008 season helping the Brewers to their first post-season appearance since 1982. Sabathia is now a free agent.

Lee was the first Indians pitcher to win 20 games since Gaylord Perry in 1974. Perry is the only other Indians pitcher other than Lee and Sabathia to win the award. The Baseball Writers Association of America awarded Perry the AL Cy Young in 1972.

Originally drafted by the Montreal Expos in 2000, he was traded along with Grady Sizemore and Brandon Phillips to the Indians for pitcher Bartolo Colon in the middle of the 2002 season. Without Lee and Sizemore the Indians might have finished in the cellar of the AL Central.

Iran Successfully Tests Missile

Yesterday, the Iranians successfully launched a long range missile capable of reaching Europe.

If their weapons can reach Europe they can certainly hit Israel.

Maybe they'' build a missile capable of hitting America.

Does President-elect Obama really want to engage Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs?

Does President-elect Obama really trust Iran to help us out in Afghanistan?

This won't be the last time we hear from Iran. Not by a longshot.

Mitch Mitchell, 1947-2008. R.I.P.

Mitch Mitchell, the drummer of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, was found dead last night in his hotel room in Portland, Oregon. He was 61. No cause of death has been determined although an autopsy is expected to be performed.

Mitchell had just completed a four week U.S. Experience Hendrix tour.

Now all three original members of the Jimi Hendrix Experience are gone. Jimi Hendrix, of course, died in 1970. Bassist Noel Redding died in 2003.

There are some who are not crazy about '60s music and the drug culture with which it is associated.

But there is a lot of very good music that came out of it. Hendrix' version of the Star Spangled Banner gave our national anthem a brand new sound.

Maddon & Piniella Named AL & NL Managers of the Year

It came as a suprise to no one that Joe Maddon was named the AL Manager of the Year. Maddon guided the Rays to their first post season appearance in franchise history winning the AL championship though falling short in the World Series. The only other plausible candidate for this award would have been Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire who nearly led his team into the postseason despite losing a Cy Young Award winner, an All-Star centerfielder and two other members of the starting rotation.

But no one had predicted the Rays would be a playoff bound team much less a team with a winning record. Despite their history Maddon had the team believing in his mantra of 9=8. Nine players = eight playoff spots.

Of course, as is well known, I picked the Rays to win it all in 2006 when Maddon took over the helm of the Rays. I might have been guilty of premature speculation but I knew the Rays were headed in the right direction under Maddon's guidance.

Maddon succeeded Lou Piniella as the Rays manager. Piniella took a year off from managing before replacing Dusty Baker as the manager of the Chicago Cubs in 2007. He has guided the Cubs to back to back NL Central Division titles. In 2008, the Cubs had the best record in the NL and was named NL Manager of the Year. Fat lot of good its done them in the NLDS.

This is the third time Piniella has been named Manager of the Year. He won it twice in the AL with the Seattle Mariners in 1995 and 2001. 1995 represented the Mariners first playoff appearance in franchise history and in 2001 the Mariners tied the MLB record with 116 regular season wins. Oddly, Piniella didn't win Manager of the Year in 1990 when he guided the Cincinnati Reds to their last World Series championship.

Chuck Muth on why the GOP did poorly

By Chuck Muth
November 10, 2008

(NOTE: This will likely be my last column for a while, so it's a doozy! I'll explain why in a few days, but suffice it to say that real change requires real change, and I'm reassessing the best use of my time and treasure following last Tuesday's elections. Anyway, this baby is a long mama-jama, so just read a little bit of it each day for the next few days to hold you over.)

Now this is poetic justice.

When Republicans settled on John McCain as their presidential nominee last winter, more than a handful of conservatives objected. McCain, after all, was a moderate ("maverick"), not a movement conservative. But conservatives were browbeaten into supporting McCain by invoking the Reagan doctrine, which generally says that someone who is with you 80 percent of the time is your friend, not your enemy.

Well, yesterday NewsMax cited Rush Limbaugh who reportedly cited exit polls which reportedly show that while McCain got 89 percent of the GOP vote, he only received 80 percent of the conservative vote.

So that means conservative voters, who helped cause McCain's defeat by not voting for him last Tuesday, are his friends, not his enemies, right? I mean, it works both ways, right?

In any event, I'm going to turn to my home state of Nevada now, where some local Republicans, not surprisingly, are taking all the wrong lessons from Tuesday's ballot box debacle. And I suspect their admonishments are popping up in your state, as well, so let's look.


To preface this, please know that after EVERY major GOP loss, the media and Republican moderates ALWAYS declare conservative ideology dead and warn ominously that Republicans have to move to the mushy middle if they're ever to have a chance of ever getting elected again.


They made this declaration after Goldwater's defeat in the 1964 presidential race. And all Republicans got for that was.Ronald Reagan.

They declared the same thing after the first President Bush's crushing defeat in 1992 after breaking his "read my lips" tax pledge. And all Republicans got for that was.the historic GOP take-over of Congress just two short years later.

The simple fact is Republicans didn't lose last Tuesday because George Bush, John McCain and congressional Republicans weren't "moderate" enough; Republicans lost because they weren't conservative enough and governed badly. They spent money our grandchildren don't have and just weeks before the national election, larded up a $700 billion bailout for Wall Street while simultaneously taking the first steps toward nationalizing our banking, insurance, real estate and auto industries.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama was campaigning on a platform of cutting taxes and paying for his new programs by eliminating old programs. Hello?

Yet some Nevada GOP leaders are declaring the conservative governing philosophy dead here in the Silver State despite no evidence of such whatsoever.

The truth is Republicans in Nevada lost because the Democrats beat their socks off in the campaign, not because of any seismic ideological shift. They began out-registering Republicans as soon as they moved their presidential caucus to the front of the pack in the summer of 2006. The Democrats never looked back and Republicans never caught up.

Democrats, led by Sen. Harry Reid, used their presidential caucus to recruit volunteers, organize precincts, establish a "new media" communications network with activists, raise money and register voters. And the Democrat presidential candidates, unlike the Republican presidential candidates - particularly John McCain - supported the caucus and came to Nevada to campaign early and often.

Come election time, Democrats were on the streets, pounding the pavement for their guys and gals, building up huge "early voting" leads Republicans couldn't overcome. The GOP, on the other hand, waited until the final weekend before Election Day to flood phones with "Joyce from the McCain campaign" robo-calls. Pathetic.

Republicans didn't lose because they opposed tax hikes. They lost because they got their butts kicked in the trench warfare of grassroots politics. Plain and simple.


And yet the Las Vegas Sun reported yesterday that Nevada state Sen. Warren Hardy (R-Las Vegas) "thinks Nevadans repudiated the state's small-government libertarian past." Here's the Harry Reid-like "war is lost" eulogy Hardy gave the conservative movement yesterday.

"Nevada has gone in the last two to four years from center-right to center-left and it's not going back. We're a blue state and we're going to continue to be a blue state. If Republicans are going to survive we need to figure out a way to recruit and run candidates who are going to attract Democratic voters."

I've already given multiple examples from last Tuesday's election results to dispel this flapdoodle, but let's take another look at the race involving Hardy's now-former state Senate colleague, Joe Heck.

First, Joe Heck was perceived as, at best, a moderate, not a conservative. In her October 21 column, Las Vegas Review Journal columnist Erin Neff quoted Senate District 5 Democrat voter Marty Smith as saying the following: "Heck doesn't seem like the other Republicans. I stuck with him Republicans go, he's pretty liberal."

Indeed, Heck was first elected to the state Senate four years ago by defeating that right-wing, card-carrying, social and fiscal conservative champion Sen. Ann O'Connell. In other words, Joe Heck was exactly the kind of candidate Warren Hardy maintains Republicans need to run if they're "going to attract Democratic voters" and win.

But a funny thing happened last Tuesday on the way to Mushy Middledom. The "moderate" Joe Heck lost by receiving 46 percent of the vote while his Democrat opponent received 47 percent of the vote.

Now, I went to public schools for a number of years, so maybe my math is off here.but doesn't that add up to 93 percent of the total vote? Why, yes it does. So where did that other 7 percent go? Well, 4 percent of it went to the Libertarian Party candidate in the race and 3 percent of it went to the Independent American Party candidate in the race.

Hmmm. And the LP and IAP are small-government conservative third parties. Go figure.

So in order for Joe Heck to have "survived" last Tuesday, he didn't need to get a single additional Democrat vote to win. All he had to do was get about 200 votes out of the more than 7,500 votes cast for either of the third party "conservative" candidates in the race.

Could he have pulled 200 votes from the two conservative candidates? Absolutely. If he had only bothered to ask for them. He didn't.

Joe Heck didn't lose on Tuesday because he was too far to the Right. He lost because too many on the Right saw no reason to vote for Democrat Lite. It's just that simple.


Next, let's turn to state Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio (R-Reno). In a huge, front-page story in yesterday's Nevada Appeal, Sen. Raggio also declared conservatism in the Republican Party dead.

"My party is going to have to change. It's gone too far to the right. The Republican far right message does not sell. We have to keep our core principles firm, but I'm not going to be an extremist. I'm a conservative in the Reagan mold but I'm not going to be an extremist. (The Republican Party has to) get a good handle on what went wrong (in the election). Otherwise we won't win another election."

So it was the far right extremist candidates who didn't sell, huh?

Republican John McCain (2006 American Conservative Union Rating of just 65) got his $#% kicked in Nevada on Tuesday by 13 points. Was he a far right extremist? No.

Republican U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith of Oregon (2007 American Conservative Union Rating of just 48) lost on Tuesday. Was he a far right extremist? No.

Republican Rep. Chris Shays of Connecticut (2007 American Conservative Union Rating of just 20) lost on Tuesday. Was he a far right extremist? No.

Republican Rep. Jon Porter (2007 American Conservative Union Rating of just 64) lost his congressional seat in Las Vegas on Tuesday. Was he a far right extremist? No.

Republican Nevada state Sen. Joe Heck (see above) lost his seat on Tuesday. Was he a far right extremist? No.

Meanwhile, conservative Republican Rep. Dean Heller (American Conservative Union Rating of 96) - who, unlike his former colleague Porter, voted against the $700 billion Wall Street bailout - whooped his Democrat opponent.

And at the state level, Republican Assemblyman John Marvel - who famously flip-flopped on the largest tax hike in Nevada's history back in 2003 - lost in the GOP primary to far right extremist former Assemblyman Don Gustavson, who went on to capture more than 60 percent of the general election vote last Tuesday.

Hmmm. Seems to me it's the moderates, not the "extremists," who are the tough sell.


Now that we've debunked the myth about "extremist" candidates, let's take a look at the "extremist" issues which Sen. Raggio says don't sell. We'll start with a social issue.

Is opposition to gay marriage an "extreme" position which doesn't sell with the general electorate? If so, then how does Sen. Raggio explain the fact that a ban on gay marriage passed overwhelmingly in Nevada, not once, but twice? And how does he explain gay marriage bans passing last Tuesday in all three states where they appeared on the ballot, including in ultra-liberal CALIFORNIA?

Me, personally, I couldn't care less about gay marriage. Frankly, I think the problem of heterosexual divorce is FAR more damaging to the institution of marriage. But in looking at the issue and how it fares at the ballot box, you can't possibly make the claim that opposition to gay marriage is an "extreme" position in the minds of the electorate or an electoral loser.

Maybe Sen. Raggio is talking about spending restraint when he refers to "extremism." Well, let's look at that.

Two years ago, a citizen initiative was circulated by "extremist" state Sen. Bob Beers (R-Retired) which would have limited spending increases to the rate of population growth plus inflation. That petition was signed by more than 150,000 Nevada voters - Republican and Democrat alike - before the state Supreme Court kicked it off the ballot over a typo.

150,000 citizen signatures.

Seems to me this effort at fiscal responsibility enjoys widespread public support and is anything but "extreme."

And by the way, during the last two sessions, while in control of the state Senate, Sen. Raggio has blocked this common-sense, fiscally-responsible, popular measure from even getting to the floor for a vote. Some might consider THAT extreme.


How about taxes? Do Nevada voters think opposition to tax hikes is "extreme"? And is promising the voters that you won't raise their taxes an electoral loser?


Back in 2006, Jim Gibbons pledged to the voters of Nevada that he would oppose and veto any effort to raise taxes if elected governor. And despite scandals out the ying-yang leading up to Election Day, voters voted for this "extremist." And truth be told, the ONLY shot Gibbons possibly has for re-election is if he keeps his promise. If he breaks his "no new taxes" pledge, he's toast.

But let's take a look at this issue as it played out last Tuesday.

Question 4 on the statewide ballot asked Nevada voters if they wanted to allow the Legislature to change the "Sales & Use Tax Act" without a vote of the people, which many rightly saw as a first step toward taxing the Internet. It was crushed, 73 percent to 27 percent.

Question 1 on the Carson City ballot asked for a mere 1/8th of 1 percent hike in the sales tax for a tourist railroad project billed by proponents as critical for economic development. It was crushed by 61 percent to 39 percent.

Question 2 on the Carson City ballot asked for a property tax hike for cops and firefighters. It was crushed worse than the V&T railroad question - 69 percent to 31 percent.

Let's look in Sen. Raggio's own backyard.

Question 1 in Washoe County would have raised sales and vehicle taxes for the public school district. It was crushed 55 percent to 45 percent.

Question 2 in Washoe County would have raised the sales tax a mere 1/8th of 1 percent for public transportation. It was crushed 64 percent to 36 percent.

Question 4 in Washoe County would have raised property taxes for fire protection. It lost 52 percent to 48 percent.

To be fair, two other advisory questions in Clark and Washoe counties which called for a hike in the room tax passed. But bear in mind, that's a (misguided and self-defeating) tax penalty which will be passed on to our tourists, not a tax hike on Nevadans.

So, tell me again how opposing tax hikes is somehow "extreme" and "too far to the right" for Republicans to get elected? Because the election results show that Nevadans don't want their taxes raised.and even Sen. Raggio knows this.

Indeed, in his primary race just this last July, Sen. Raggio said, and I quote, "This is not the time to start talking about raising taxes. It is something we can't even consider." I guess this make Sen. Raggio himself an "extremist."


Of course, now that the election is over, Sen. Raggio doesn't want to be an "extremist" any longer and is singing a different tune. The day after the general election he reportedly told Reno Gazette-Journal reporter Anjeanette Damon that it will be "almost impossible" to construct a budget next year with existing tax revenue and, therefore, tax hikes are "on the table."

Let me repeat.

In July Sen. Raggio said tax hikes were something "we can't even consider."

After the election, three short months later, Sen. Raggio now says tax hikes are "on the table."


And we don't even get cab fare home.

Unfortunately, Sen. Raggio isn't alone in hopping on the deck and flopping like a fish.

As noted earlier, Gov. Gibbons made and signed the following promise to the voters of Nevada before they elected him governor in 2006.

"I, Jim Gibbons, pledge to the taxpayers of Nevada, and all the people of this State, that I will oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes."

But that was then. This is now.

On Friday, Gov. Gibbons flip-flopped and, like Sen. Raggio, said tax hikes were now "on the table."

"We are going to have to look at some of our revenue (sources) and see if (raising them) is an option," Gibbons told reporters, adding that tax increases alone will not make up the budget deficit; that some cuts will still be necessary. "You need a combination," he said.

Yet, that "combination" somehow doesn't appear to include laying off government workers. While non-essential private sector workers are losing their jobs in herds, Gov. Gibbons, for some reason, thinks Nevada's non-essential government workers should be immune to layoffs.

Easier to just raise taxes, I guess. Good grief.

It's easy to promise not to raise taxes in times of plenty. What separates the men from the boys is whether you stick with your word when the going gets tough. As he has before, it appears Gov. Gibbons is again "going wobbly" on us just when his steadfast resolve is needed most.


In defending his flip-flop in light of the budget crunch, Gibbons also said last week, "Nobody could have foreseen this. Nobody."

Au contraire.

Former Gov. Kenny Guinn saw it coming a mile away. He predicted this $1 billion-plus shortfall LONG ago, but no one listened. Indeed, he warned the Legislature not to spend the surplus from the $833 million tax hike in 2003 on new programs.but they didn't listen. And he called on the Legislature to address the looming financial time-bomb posed by government employee retirement and health care benefits.but they didn't listen.

Now look where we are.

And by the way, does anyone else remember back in 2003 when then-Rep. Jim Gibbons scolded then-Gov. Kenny Guinn for pushing his $704 million tax hike instead of cutting $704 million from the budget? Where exactly are those $704 million worth of budget cuts Gibbons said were in the budget five years ago?

Factoring in just a conservative six percent increase per year for population growth and inflation, that $704 million worth of budget cuts should be worth about $950 million today.just about the amount of the current budget deficit. Shouldn't Gov. Gibbons make the cuts he told Gov. Guinn to make before even remotely considering raising taxes, especially in a recession?

Or at least apologize to Gov. Guinn?

And shouldn't we at least zero out the Nevada Arts Council before we start talking about raising taxes, especially in a recession?

And if "everything is on the table," shouldn't we be talking about the $500-million-per-year offer on the table from Sen. Jim Inhofe (Republican extremist-Oklahoma) in exchange for Yucca Mountain? Doesn't "everything" mean "everything"? I mean, is "everything" on the table.or not? And if not, why not? Inquiring minds wanna know.


Serious question here, folks:

Do you think voters in 2010 will be mad at Republicans who stand firm against tax hikes, such as the ones voters overwhelmingly crushed last Tuesday - or Republicans who flip-flop around on the tax issue, telling us one thing while they try to get elected and another thing afterward?

Yeah, me too.

Hardy and Raggio and the mainstream media are just plain wrong. Conservatism isn't dead. Fiscal responsibility and opposition to tax hikes aren't electoral losers. The fact is Republicans have articulated their conservative philosophy to the electorate badly (primarily by being inconsistent and wishy-washy on it), governed while in the majority badly, and campaigned for office up and down the ticket this year badly.

The 2008 election wasn't a rejection of conservatism; it was a rejection of Republicans who rejected conservatism.

Particularly in Washington, it wasn't that limited-government conservatism was a bad product; it was that Bush and congressional Republicans operated it wrong. A Rolls Royce is, obviously, a great product. But if you're driving down the highway at 70 miles per house and suddenly shift from "Drive" to "Park," you're in for a world of hurt. Of course, it wouldn't be because the product was bad; it would be because you tried to get it to do something it wasn't intended to do.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly the problem with "big government conservatism."

In addition, Republicans have been really, really, REALLY lousy at marketing conservatism to the public.

For those of you who still remember the late 70s, the superior product on the day was BETA video tapes. But the folks with VHS did a far better job of marketing their product. Thus, until the DVD was invented (did Al Gore have anything to do with that?), we all rented VHS videos from Blockbuster, not BETAs.

The GOP doesn't need a new philosophy; it needs a better marketing campaign - including better spokesmen other than non-conservatives such as George Bush and John McCain.

One final thought on this subject.

Marketing guru Robert Allen tells the story of a book featuring a compilation of classic literature stories which were boiled down to just two pages each. The book was titled "Condensed Classics." And it bombed.

Then some genius took the EXACT same book, re-titled it "The Great American Bathroom Book," and the thing FLEW off the shelves.

So I guess my final (for now) piece of advice for Republicans would be: Forget this crap about going to the middle and go to the bathroom instead!

Until we meet again.

Viguerie's "Conservatives Betrayed" foresaw collapse of GOP

and describes the road back for conservatives

(Manassas, Virginia) Richard A. Viguerie's 2006 book Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause (Bonus Books) offers a roadmap for a conservative comeback following the disastrous elections of 2006 and 2008.

The book calls on conservatives to organize themselves as a "Third Force" that can influence both major political parties.

Viguerie points to environmentalist, labor union, and race-based groups as models for "Third Force"-type organizations. These groups are major political players, he says, but they are independent. They have their own members, money, and issues. "They are free to punish or reward politicians based on their behavior."

Conservatives, according to Viguerie, will respond to the 2008 election by creating their own Third Force organizations. These groups will deal with social issues, the culture, immigration, taxes, health care, government spending, judicial appointments, the environment, excessive government regulation, schools, and the concerns of working class and small business class Americans - "literally thousands of grassroots organizations reaching every community in this country."

Conservatives Betrayed was one of the earliest assaults on Big Government Republicanism, the governing philosophy that wrecked the economy, ruined the GOP "brand," and brought the Obama-Pelosi-Reid Democrats to power.

Since the book was published, its central argument - that Big Government Republicanism would be a disaster for the GOP and for the country - has been proven correct.

In the book, Viguerie calls on conservatives to "Cut off your support of the Republican National Committee and other party fundraising committees;" to instead "Give 100% of your political donations to principled conservative causes and candidates;" and to "Demand sweeping changes in the Republican congressional leadership."

In recent weeks, Viguerie has renewed his call for conservatives to cut off support for the GOP until the party changes its leadership, top to bottom.

Church under attack for signpost

For years Crestwood Baptist Church has unashamedly declared the Gospel of Christ and the Word of God through the display of scripture on the marquee in front of their church. Tragically, this common practice for churches has now come under attack.

In the days leading up to the Presidential election, Crestwood Baptist Church displayed Proverbs 29:2, which states, “...when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn” on their marquee in an effort to remind citizens of their responsibility to vote based upon their values as Americans and ambassadors for Christ .

Nearly a week after the election, while jogging past the marquee, a nationally syndicated news reporter took notice of the verse, erroneously assumed it was the church’s attempt to slander a particular candidate, and reported his biased opinion on CNN news.

This unmerited report sparked animosity towards Crestwood and its pastor, Phil Edge, who have received numerous emails and phone calls demanding an explanation for his alleged attack on the results of this recent Presidential election.

Please pray for Crestwood Baptist Church as they endeavor to obey the command of Christ through the Apostle Paul in II Timothy to “Hold fast the form of sound words.” CLA commends churches who continue to be unashamed of the Gospel of Christ.

Please join CLA in supporting the pastor of Crestwood Baptist Church as he stands firm upon the Word of God.

Click Here if You Commit to Pray for Crestwood Baptist Church

National Geographic video of fetal development

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Arizona finally offers reciprocity for out-of-state lawyers

Arizona Supreme Court strikes a blow for freedom
When I moved to Arizona seven years ago, two things happened related to my legal practice. First, I was invited to teach a continuing legal education class for Arizona lawyers on property rights law. Second, I was told I could not practice law until I passed the Arizona bar exam. Good enough to teach, but not good enough to do.

testSo I had to take six weeks away from my constitutional law practice to demonstrate proficiency in areas of law (like wills and contracts) that I wouldn't practice in a million years, and take an examination in many ways identical to the one I passed 20 years earlier in California. There was little on the exam unique to Arizona.

For many years, Arizona was one of the few states that refused to recognize attorney credentials from other states. Even a U.S. Supreme Court justice couldn't move and practice here without taking the exam. I suspect there was a bit of protectionism going on, especially with the specter of lawyers retiring to Arizona and practicing part-time.

In September, the Arizona Supreme Court lifted the barrier, in response to a petition from a lawyer whose practice, as so many do, spans state boundaries. Now, lawyers in good standing in other states may practice here if they take a course on Arizona law. The new rule is wise and judicious.

I know what you're thinking: the last thing Arizona needs is more lawyers. But greater supply should increase quality and decrease prices. And now if you have a legal matter that involves more than one state, you won't have to hire multiple lawyers.

I still lament the wasted time and sheer boredom entailed in studying for the Arizona bar exam. But if you need a will, I know how to do one, sort of.
Clint Bolick is the director of the Goldwater Institute Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation.'s right wing internet equivalent is here: #dontgo

dontgo Movement

The #dontgo Movement is Back!

Indeed, the #dontgo Movement is back and better than ever. We're ready to come out firing on all fronts this week, and you're invited to help us give the free market movement a full scale online kickoff!

This will be a somewhat lengthy message, but if you watched what happened in last Tuesday's election and have concerns about the future of this great nation, hearing me out will be well worth the time.

Please read on...

During the past few years, Republicans and Democrats have brought great distress to the American Government. Both sides of the political isle have used the powers we've given them to manipulate the system for personal gain. In many cases, that gain was financial... in other scenarios it was simply a move for permanent power.

Either way, this reckless use of the American government has caused significant damage to our country, our economy, and markets, our freedoms, and our society in general. Government at all levels is currently running like a wild fire and it must be contained before it burns the entire forest to the ground.

In wake of the recent shift towards socialism and out of control spending, several grassroots efforts are beginning to brew at levels never seen before. The #dontgo Movement, a grassroots effort that began organically cultivating last August during the energy debate, is ready to lead the charge in state of the art online activism.

This Monday (November 10th), we're having a full day “launch party” in various places across the web. To kick things off, we're launching our brand new website first thing in the morning. Then, throughout the day we'll be interacting with folks through Twitter, Facebook, blogging communities, and various other social media realms. Later in the evening, 7:00 PM Central time to be exact, we're hosting our first “Blog Talk Radio” show. This show will last an hour and will be broadcast live.

You can visit the official show page here. There will be a live chat room during the show. If you can't make the online version, you can always call in to participate live or just listen in via phone. The call in number will be available on the official show page shortly.

What is the purpose of the #dontgo Movement?
In short, we exist to advance the ideas of free-markets, less regulation, less taxation, accountability and transparency in government, and finally, a collaborate effort to bring the power back to the people.

How will we do this?
We're currently developing a state-of-the-art action center that will allow users direct access to contact information for public officials as well as media contacts. We're crafting a carefully planned network of activists in each state that will be able to work with local government and media, as well as bloggers and other political organizers, to unify behind the message.

The purpose is to not only drive the message, but to also provoke real world action in ways that cause REAL change.

We also plan to launch a fifty state “investigative reporting” network that will seek to explore, identify, and expose corruption in government at all levels.

Finally, we'll work to identify candidates for offices from school boards, all the way up to state constitutional offices, and help them develop campaign strategy and organizational structure.

Have no doubt, this is going to require an enormous amount of time and energy. And it's going to require a LOT of people just like you.

Which leads me to my plea for your help. We're an all volunteer organization. There is not a single paid person within the #dontgo Movement, and there for we need to reach out to individuals across the country to join us in developing one of the most ambitious center-right movements we've ever seen.

We need assistance in graphic design, content creation, messaging, media relations, web development, online marketing, political strategy, and much more.

Please click here for a full list of ways you can join the movement.

This is our time to shine. Some who consider themselves “progressives” believe we need to MoveOn. We, on the other hand, believe it to be much wiser if we #dontgo.

Our country is fine the way our founding fathers set it up. Let's keep it that way.

Are you in? Join us now.

-Eric Odom

Twitter Stream
Click here to visit the Twitter Stream.
Watch a live stream of twitter conversation happening around the #dontgo Movement.

#dontgo on Facebook
Have a Facebook? Make sure you join the Official #dontgo Facebook Group.

Get Involved!
Want to get involved? Check out the different ways you can help build the movement.Click here to see the positions open (voluntary).